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Requiem for Reg Smeeton

Updated: Jun 6

Requiem for Reg Smeeton

There are those, of course, in Swindon pubs and streets,

And in the purlieus of the County Ground,

Who wonder if Reg Smeeton was actually Andy Beck,

And if Andy Beck was actually Reg Smeeton:

‘His name’s Andy, met him a couple of times,

But not in a very long time’;

‘I’m sorry’, came a reply,

‘But I just can’t picture him as Andy.

He’s Reg all over’ …

And talking of pictures …

‘I did have a good look at that picture.

It’s easily been 10 years

since I last crossed paths with Reg

but he was always clean shaven,

wearing glasses (I think?)

and had jet black hair!’;

‘Likewise. I met him maybe twice,

And in my mind, he was the spitting image

Of Alan Wiley, the ex-referee.’

‘I remember a shortish guy with glasses,

Looked nothing like that photo.

It was in the legends lounge’;

‘Do you think the 3 of us were told

It was Reg and it wasn’t’ …

‘He told me he was Reg …

And he spoke exactly like Reg would post’ …

‘If anything it’s more likely the picture guy

Is the impostor rather than the Reg

We’re acquainted with … but … despite the picture,

The obituary is so Reg’;

‘I think his shirt number should be retired.

Those boots are too big to fill.’

‘Only chatted to him in person a few times,

Mostly in the Beehive but did point him out

Once or twice to others at the County Ground.

I don’t think one person believed me.’

Some said Reg was ‘cantankerous’,

Curmudgeonly, a miserabilist,

A confirmed STFC misanthropist,

Someone who preferred relegation to promotion,

And that is why I maintain Andy Beck

Could not have been Reginald Smeeton.

The Andy I knew was nothing like this

(Even though he gratefully accepted the gift of my season ticket

In the Town’s premiership year:

I just couldn’t stand watching them lose).

We’ve celebrated countless victories together,

And promotions too,

Most famously at Mansfield Town,

Escorted by a phalanx of police,

Fresh from confronting the miners up the road.

Andy Beck was anything but a Jeremiah.

Reg Smeeton was a Jeremiah incarnate.

Andy Beck could not have been Reg Smeeton.


Unless …

Shades of Flann O’ Brien’s The Third Policeman,

(Where molecular interchange between cyclist and cycle

Caused a shift in persona, I seem to recall),

Andy Beck’s long beard in later life

was caused by molecular interchange with Reg.

No, surely not.

That’s impossible.

Isn’t it?

Too Gothic by half.

And, anyway, Reg Smeeton was not

The brother-in-law of generational

STFC legend, Donald Rogers.

‘But on the other hand,

What about Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?’

‘But that’s fiction.’

‘Exactly. QED.’

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